Sunday, 24 March 2013

Project Stresshead

Brace yourselves, this could be a long one. The genesis for today's post came when I was lying awake at 5:30am this morning. I had absolutely no logical reason not to be able to get back to sleep (well apart from the fact the radiator was being a bit loud, and there was a seagull pissing me off outside the window) but my brain was churning away and I had to admit defeat and get up around 7:00. This is a regular occurrence for me. I'd say four or five nights a week I'll wake up at some point between 3:00 and 5:00 and lie awake for anything from half an hour to two hours. I'll think about work, money, the future, the past, anything and everything, and it keeps me from getting back to sleep. 

This is a symptom of the fact I'm definitely a bit stressed right now, and have been for a while. A good example of this came on Thursday night, when Mr E asked why I keep buying pineapples, not getting round to eating them and leaving them to rot on the worktop. I slightly flew off the handle and went into a protracted rant about how I'd been working so much and was so busy and stressed that I just didn't have time to do anything, including chopping up  a pineapple. I'm well aware I probably spent longer justifying why I didn't have time to cut up and eat said pineapple than it actually would have taken me to cut it up and eat it - I never said this was rational. 

Of course, a bit of stress is good. It's what makes me able to wing it in a meeting I'm not quite prepared for or come up with a way to solve a problem, and there's even some evidence that a little stress is good for your immune system. Too much stress is draining though, and I'm starting to feel that way. I realise this doesn't compare at all to what people who suffer with major anxiety disorders or depression go through but, to be honest, I feel a bit rubbish and want to nip it in the bud. 

My plan is to think of three things each week which I am either going to make an extra effort to do, or which I am going to stop doing because they are bad for me. I'm hoping over time some of these things will become habits, and I'll generally feel better for it. Well, that's the plan anyway. 

This week I will: 

1. Not log on to work emails at home

I have a love/hate relationship with this little token. This piece of plastic is what allows me to log on to my work network from home. That's a good thing because it means I can work from home every now and again; but at the same time it makes it all too easy to think "I'll just log in from home and finish this off..." Frankly, I'm not that important, and it can wait until I'm back in the office. 

2. Go for a walk in the park at lunchtime

I work in the city centre, so my default lunchtime activity to get me out of the office is a mooch around the shops. The result is, I buy way too much stuff, my wardrobes are bursting at the seams with clothes that are never quite right, and I stress myself out about the fact that I've still got my student overdraft at the age of 29. Except it isn't free any more. Being in the middle of town also means I'm five minutes away from the oldest (and probably the nicest) public park in the city. I'm making it my mission to go there instead, twice this week. If it's still freezing then I need to put a scarf on, man up and get out there. 

3. Get a hair cut

This one sounds slightly ridiculous, but hear me out. I love my long hair, I feel like it's a bit of a trademark for me and it's definitely a comfort blanket, but lately I seem to be spending an immense amount of time thinking about it, and yes, stressing about it. I've convinced myself it's so long it's a bit unprofessional (not sure where this complex started, but it's there now) and every time I look down, I'm confronted by a sea of split ends. So, I'm off for the chop this week. I'm not going short, by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm going to get a good chunk cut off. Also, at the salon I go to (Boilerhouse, if anyone's interested), they have vibrating massage chairs for while you're getting your hair washed. That in itself is enough to get this one on the list. And if I miss my hair being really long? Well it actually grows pretty fast and there's always extensions for nights out. 

(So much hair it won't even fit in shot)

These are three small things, but it feels like a start. 

And if it doesn't work, well I'll just start buying ready-prepared pineapple instead. 

Can you relate to anything in this post? What are your best ways for dealing with feeling stressed? Leave me some suggestions in the comments. 


  1. Aw I hope this week goes better! I prescribe chocolate, wine and a nice bath :)

    1. That's a good prescription! Except I gave up chocolate for Lent (one week to go)! That's probably why I'm stressed :-/ x

  2. Hope these things work for you. I'm going to try the same - I have exactly the same problem - so hard to switch off sometimes

    Claire x

    1. Thanks Claire - hope they work for you too! x

  3. How about a sesh in Durham??? That would be good for stress xx

    1. Well that's already on the agenda and I can't wait! :) xx

  4. What a brilliant post! It sums up how i fell sometimes too. I find a brisk walk or light jog really helps, and helps my sleeping patterns too, any excercise really helps x x x

    1. Thank you! Building more exercise into my everyday life is something I DEFINITELY need to do x


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